Posts from 17th May 2009

May 09

Eurovision: One Year Later

FT/19 comments • 654 views

Almost a year ago I wrote this post – “5 Point Plan For The UK To Win Eurovision”, defining “win” as “maybe come a respectable fifth”.

And here we are: a respectable fifth. So let’s see which bits of my advice were proved right.

Erm, well, NONE AT ALL seems to be the answer.


Tokyo Sonata Lacks The Class Of Time Out

FTPost a comment • 235 views

I liked The Class (Entre Les Murs) by Laurent Cantet, but did not feel all that compelled to say so when it came out. Because it had good reviews I had no need to, and my glib comments about this depiction of Parisien inner city schooling would have added nothing to the debate. Yes, it looked tough, no it did not look as tough as we thought a London school would be. Yes its a tricky job, but perhaps the teacher went too far. It is exactly the kind of film which, as a Play For Today in the UK would have caused questions in parliament, which it did in France. Which for a socialist social realist like Cantet and his collaborator François Bégaudeau would have been the highest level of success. What is more interesting about the film is how it was made, that it was inspired by a book of the same name, a confessional tale of an adequate teacher in a similar school. That said teacher / writer was then encourage to help improvise and star in the final film is more unusual. It blurs the line between fact and fiction in an interesting way, almost the opposite of a docudrama: the incidents and most of the characters are fictional, the way they are handled perhaps not. Call it a Dramamentury instead.

At the same time, it was interesting to see Tokyo Sonata, a Japanese take on one of Cantet’s previous films. Well interesting is the wrong word as despite having much more in the way of plot than Cantet’s Time Out, it is too melodramatic but oddly dull.